Tales from the paddock – Daniel Juncadella: “Getting that first pole position and first podium finish has obviously boosted my motivation”
Daniel Juncadella made a maiden podium appearance in the standout fixture of the DTM season at Nuremberg. In an interview, he tells us about his ambitions for the second half of the season.
- News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
- Three questions for Daniel Juncadella
- Social media news: What’s new online?
Stat-Attack – Austrian GP: The non-executive Chairman of the team, Niki Lauda, has the distinction of being the only Austrian to win his home Grand Prix. That was in 1984. Niki also shares the record for pole positions in Austria with Nelson Piquet and René Arnoux – three each. That was on the old Österreichring. Although Lewis Hamilton competed at the Red Bull Ring for the first time only four years ago, the two-time pole-sitter (2015, 2016) had a chance to join this elite trio last weekend – until Valtteri qualified a hundredth of a second faster. So it was that the Finn claimed his second pole in a row at this particular venue. However, Lewis is in the habit of breaking so many records that he wasn’t even aware of this missed opportunity... In the wider frame, it was the 175th Formula 1 pole position for a Mercedes-Benz-powered car.
Silverstone, here we come: Satisfying as Saturday’s qualifying was at Spielberg, Sunday’s race ended in disappointment. Fortunately, the team has the opportunity to bounce back just one week later, when the third and final instalment of the first triple-header in the history of Formula 1 takes place. The British Grand Prix is, of course, a home race for the people who work hard for the team’s success not very far from the track at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. In recent years, they have enjoyed five home wins in succession at Silverstone (once Nico Rosberg, four times Lewis Hamilton). Lewis’s total of five Grand Prix victories in his home country put him alongside Jim Clark and Alain Prost at the top of the all-time leaderboard for wins at the ‘ Home of British Motor Racing’. Jim Clark and Lewis Hamilton also lead the way in terms of pole positions with five each. In this discipline too, the last five poles have gone to a Silver Arrows driver (once Nico, four times Lewis).
Further successes for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams: In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 registered two Top Ten finishes on the Watkins Glen track. Luca Stolz (GER), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Ben Keating (USA) in the number 33 car entered by Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports finished fifth in the GTD class. The trio thus scored important points towards the North American Endurance Cup. Going into the final race weekend (10‑hour Petit Le Mans, 10th -13th October, Road Atlanta), the outfit tops the championship table by two points. Thomas Jäger (GER), Kenny Habul (AUS) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN) took eighth place in the GTD class for SunEnergy1 Racing at Watkins Glen. On the support programme, there were also three Top Ten places for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Team TGM (#46), Murillo Racing (#56) and Ramsey Racing (#92) finished fifth, eighth and tenth respectively at the end of the four hours.
The Blancpain GT Series Asia was contested at the Suzuka International Racing Course. Patric Niederhauser (SUI) and Markus Pommer (GER) were the highest-placed of the Mercedes contingent, finishing third on Sunday in the number 999 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by GruppeM Racing. Sunday also saw a solid podium presence in the GT4 class for the brand. Reinhold Renger (GER) and Ryuichirou Ohtsuka (JPN) of GruppeM Racing won ahead of Gilles Vannelet (FRA) and Ringo Chong (SIN) of Team iRace.Win. Taking P2 and P3 in the class were Frank Yu (HKG) and Jean-Marc Merlin (FRA) of Craft-Bamboo Racing. Alexander Mattschull (GER) and Mercedes-AMG driver Raffaele Marciello (ITA) at the wheel of the number 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by GruppeM Racing were runners-up in both 60-minute races.
The fourth race of the 2018 Japanese Super GT was contested at Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The number 65 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by LEON RACING and driven by Naoya Gamou and Haruki Kurosawa (both JPN) missed out on the third podium spot by the narrow margin of 0.4 seconds. Kenneth Heyer and Josef Klüber (both GER) were at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the latest round of the 2018 DMV GTC. In scorching temperatures, the duo kept their cool to bring the number 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by équipe vitesse home in third place at the end of the Dunlop 60. The Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos hosted the second race weekend of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Endurance. The father-son duo of Xandy and Xandinho Negrão (both BRA) driving the number 9 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished the four-hour race as runners-up in the general classification. And finally, Belgium’s Wim Spinoy and Ward Sluys registered a victory in the GT4 class of the Belcar Endurance Championship for Selleslagh Racing Team in the three-hour race at Zolder.
Three questions for Daniel Juncadella
Daniel, you claimed a maiden DTM podium at the Norisring. How does it feel now that some time has passed since the race weekend?
Daniel Juncadella: Super! Obviously, it was a fantastic moment for me. The whole weekend was a very strong one from my perspective. I think I’m heading in the right direction at last. Now I have to do it again on the next race weekend. In the coming weeks, there are some tracks that really suit me. Let’s see what we can get out of them. We’re going through a positive phase as a team, and for me personally, getting that first pole position and first podium finish has obviously boosted my motivation. Now it’s all about keeping up the momentum.
You said that the upcoming circuits such as Zandvoort and Brands Hatch are to your liking. Why do you think that is?
Daniel Juncadella: Both are tracks that have mega appeal for drivers and where you can’t afford to make a single mistake. There, even the tiniest error is immediately punished and you’re out of it. That’s just the way it is on these typical old-school tracks without hardcore run-off zones. You have to stick to the ideal racing line, otherwise you quickly get into trouble. Brands Hatch and Zandvoort are also where I achieved some of my best Formula 3 results. At Brands Hatch this year, the DTM will be contested on the longer configuration for the first time in the history of the series. That’s rather special. I think it’s great. Simply mega. I drove on this variant last year in a GT car, so maybe that gives me a small advantage.
Since we’re on the subject, how much does your GT experience help you in the DTM?
Daniel Juncadella: GT racing calls for a completely different philosophy. Also, you have to share the cockpit with another driver. But if you’re active in the sport and are able to race every weekend, this serves as perfect preparation, because you learn to switch between two completely different cars at short notice and adapt to them. That’s why I like these GT interludes.
Social Media News
#PurePitWall: Our Technical Director James Allison answers fans’ questions on the 2018 Austrian GP, including why we didn’t bring Lewis in during the VSC phase and why the team suffered from blistering on the tyres at Spielberg.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceQii4bxnsk
#ThisIsDTM: The DTM drivers won’t be back behind the wheel until the weekend after next. In the meantime, we take another look at the best of the action from the successful weekend at the Norisring.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA2_LXC6rIU